Education News January 2010

Al the latest news from Kent's schools and colleges

Here come the boys

A new chapter has begun at Hilden Oaks School with the announcement that the school will be fully co-educational. Until now, boys left the school at seven, but from 2010 they will be able to stay right through to age 11.

As Headmistress Susan Sunderland sayss: “It is disruptive for families to have boys leave at the age of seven. We have all the teaching staff and facilities in place to take boys through to the age of 11 and are very proud of our success in the 11+ and Common Entrance exam, with 100 per cent success in 2008”.

Hilden Oaks, which also offers excellent sporting and extracurricular facilities, is one of Tonbridge’s leading independent schools and celebrated its 90th birthday in 2009. To further celebrate, the school is offering a number of means tested bursaries to children with potential born between September 2003 and August 2004.

Sutton Valence Prep gains new Head

Richard Johnson has been appointed headmaster at Sutton Valence Preparatory School from September 2010.

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Richard, 44, was educated at Gordonstoun and Newcastle University, where he read law. He worked at prep schools in the Lake District and Hertfordshire before becoming deputy head of St Francis School, Pewsey, Wiltshire in 2004.

An experienced member of the Independent Schools Inspectorate, Richard teaches history, English and geography and coaches sport. He is married to Helen, who works as a classroom assistant, has a four-year-old son Cameron, two stepchildren James, 19, and Daisy, 17, and enjoys offshore sailing, hill walking and travelling.

Mr Johnson, who takes over at Sutton Valence Preparatory School from retiring headmistress Jane Evans, said his initial impressions of the school were of “a very happy and positive learning environment for both children and staff.

Canterbury guide for the young

Everyone knows that Canterbury has a stunning cathedral, but did you know that the city also lays claim to having the oldest toilet in England, the world’s first ever railway tunnel and one of the largest Roman theatres in Northern Europe?

These fascinating facts and more are featured in a new history guide written especially for 10-13 year olds. The Young Person’s History Guide to Canterbury by local man Martyn Barr.

Martyn says: “I’ve always been interested in local history and Canterbury has a fantastic story to tell. I wanted to write and design a book that would appeal to youngsters and inspire them to find out more about the city. I also thought it would be great to link sales of the book to a local children’s charity and so Demelza House children’s hospice will receive �1 for every copy sold.”

The 40-page guide begins with the Iron Age settlement on the banks of a swampy River Stour and ends with the construction of the Whitefriars shopping centre in 2005, covering the events and people that have had most influence on the city’s development.

The Young Person’s History Guide to Canterbury is published by Out of the Box Publishing Limited and available at local bookshops, museums and visitor attractions, priced �5.99, which includes �1 donation to Demelza House.

Sponsored by Whitefriars, free copies are also being sent to every primary and secondary school in East Kent.

Young scientist

Sydenham High School student, Aysha Waheed, 14, received the Secondary School Leader Award from The Princess Royal in recognition of her inspiring contributions to science and engineering at a special ceremony at the Royal Academy of Engineering. 

The Primary, Secondary and Advanced Leaders Award for Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) is designed to encourage students to understand what inspires successful leaders to follow science and engineering careers and become Leaders for STEM in their school or college.

Supported by Woman into Science, Engineering and Construction (WISE), the WISE Leaders Award challenges female pupils to interview female scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians about what first excited them about their chosen subject, and how they harnessed this excitement to further their careers.  

Aysha interviewed Victoria Wood, a structural engineer from Expedition Engineering Consultancy, who said she felt that educational awareness programmes were increasing the number of women entering the profession. 

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